Lawyers for the US soldier serving 35 years for sending a trove of classified information to Wikileaks have confirmed media reports that she tried to commit suicide in a US military prison. Chelsea Manning's lawyers did not disclose any details about the suicide attempt, which reportedly occurred on 5 July at the secure facility based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
According to The Guardian, her lawyers said they were allowed to speak to Manning, 28, by telephone, five days after the attempt and following a period of silence by the military.
Manning's team accused the army of a "gross breach of confidentiality" for publicly revealing that the soldier had been hospitalised.
Military officials have still offered no other public details or statements, but some media outlets said she had attempted suicide. On 6 July, TMZ said Manning tried to hang herself, according to an unidentified source.
"For us, hearing Chelsea's voice after learning that she had attempted to take her life last week was incredibly emotional," said an email sent to the media by Manning's attorneys.
"She is someone who has fought so hard for so many issues we care about and we are honoured to fight for her freedom and medical care."
They added: "The government's gross breach of confidentiality in disclosing her personal health information to the media has created the very real concern that they may continue their unauthorised release of information about her publicly without warning."
Manning "would have preferred to keep her private medical information private, and instead focus on her recovery", they said and that she "knows that people have questions about how she is doing". Manning will remain under close observation for several weeks.
Bradley Manning, who had worked as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, was convicted in a military court in 2013 of six counts of espionage and other charges for leaking more than 700,000 secret military and government documents. Manning declared soon after sentencing that she was female and wanted to live as a woman. She later filed a transgender prisoner rights lawsuit to receive hormone treatment in prison.
Manning has appealed her conviction, arguing that her sentence was "grossly unfair" and that her actions were those of a naive, troubled soldier who intended only to reveal the ugly toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The appeal also argued that her disclosures harmed no one. But prosecutors have countered that the leaks seriously threatened American security and the safety of informants who were identified in the documents.